“I think the rewarding part has been being able to portray a brother and sister relationship that felt very real,” says Adepero Oduye on starring in Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier—now streaming on Disney+.
When Marvel Studios first announced the television series for the streaming platform, it was clear that the extra screen time would provide greater opportunities to explore more characters—and Sarah Wilson, played by Adepero Oduye, is a prime example. She’s a widow, single mother, small-business owner as well as sister to Sam Wilson (played by Anthony Mackie). Through her character, Oduye sheds light on the other side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we don’t see too often: The people left behind to pick up the pieces, and keep things going while the heroes were off saving the world.
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Unlike her other cast mates who were either reprising their roles—Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes and Emily VanCamp as Agent Sharon Carter—or breathing new life into characters most of us are already familiar with such as Wyatt Russell as Captain America, Oduye didn’t have a lot to work with from previous MCU films when developing her character.
“There was a lot that was built into the scripts. And so I just pulled from that, and then asked the director, producers and the writers a lot of questions. I felt like I was supported and that I didn’t have to go too far to find that story. It felt very specific and felt very real,” explains Oduye.
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Even then, it was a challenge for the American actress to introduce us to someone new, and she did that by portraying Sarah as someone we could all relate to. By which we mean, someone without extraordinary abilities or a super suit; rather, someone who has been through the ups and downs of life and is still fighting to make a better life for herself and her family.
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“I’m one of seven children, so I understand what it’s like to have a bunch of siblings, and it felt very real. I also don’t think I’ve quite played that kind of relationship before—like a brother or sister in that way. So it was very refreshing and fun to get to play that with Anthony,” shares Oduye on relating to Sarah.
“I had an absolutely wonderful time working with him. And I’m so happy that people like that brother-sister chemistry because it was very easy to just play off of him and be at ease. He’s a very generous actor. It’s everything you want as an actor, because you can play and go and try things,” she adds.
Although we do get to see what life was like during the Blip and how the world was coping with it after, Oduye is still curious about Sarah. “We’re seeing it after Avengers: Endgame, and so we’re talking about life after the Blip. It’s really hard to imagine what we saw in the movie where half of the world disappeared. So I’m curious as to what that really looked like, and what her day-to-day life was like too,” she muses while raising a good point. Maybe this is Marvel making way for another spin-off series? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Becoming Sarah in the six-episode miniseries was more than just bringing a character from script to the small screen. It was a dream come true for Oduye, who has actually been a longtime Marvel fan even before joining the project.
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“I’ve been watching Marvel movies for a while now and reading the comics, thanks to my brother who is obsessed with them. But I never thought that I would ever be a part of it. As an actor, you think: ‘Well, that would be really cool to be taken in by the MCU and be part of’. And then as a fan, it’s like ‘Yo! This is so dope, you’re part of the MCU’ which I don’t think has quite hit me yet. But this is really, really cool”.